Bizone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The economic union of the American and British Zones of Germany, agreed in December 1946 and effective from 1 January 1947.   It arose partly out of the economic difficulties of the British Zone, with a substantial industrial population that had to be fed, partly out of a growing American commitment to revitalising the German economy, partly out of British and American opposition to Soviet insistence on reparations.   Pragmatic concerns went hand in hand with the ideological struggle of the Cold War that was emerging in Europe in general and Germany in particular.

Germans participated significantly in the economic administration of Bizonia (it made the name of Ludwig Erhard) and the Economic Council, created in the spring of 1947, with representatives nominated by the parliaments of the Länder, was a very important stepping-stone to the creation of the Federal Republic.

The French Zone held aloof from Bizonia:  France’s attitude to reparations was very much closer to that of the Soviet Union than to the Americans or British.   But the Cold War pushed France and the Soviet Union apart, so that the French Zone joined in the currency reform of 1948, which precipitated the Berlin crisis of 1948-9, and France shared in the creation of the Federal Republic in 1949.

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